Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘historic’ visit to Israel commenced on Tuesday. He was received at the airport by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who called him “my friend” and welcomed him saying, “Aapka swagat hai, mere dost”. Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit the country, said it was an honour to undertake this ‘groundbreaking’ visit to Israel. The two countries are celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations.
On his first day in Israel, PM Modi visited the Danziger flower farm, where a fast-growing Israeli Chrysanthemum flower was named in his honour. Later, he was taken to Yad Vashem, to honour the memory of the victims of The Holocaust. Here, he raised the issue of terrorism, saying, “Yad Vashem tells us that those who believe in humanity and civilised values must come together and defend it at all costs. As such, we must resolutely oppose the evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence that plague our time.” Modi, accompanied by Netanyahu, later made an unscheduled visit to Mt Herzl in Jerusalem to pay their respects to the modern Zionism founder Theodore Herzl.
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See how the Israeli media reported PM Modi’s visit on Wednesday morning:
The Jerusalem Post:
The front page of the Jerusalem Post also ran two more articles titled ‘Indian, Israeli partners advance multi million dollar radar collaboration’, and ‘Don’t turn Modi into Rabbi Rick Jacobs’. The latter, an analytical piece, says: “Modi has embarked on an ambitious plan to lift his nation to a new level, and he has identified Israel as a country that can help him do that. Which is flattering. But let’s be realistic. The ability and resources of a country of only 8.3 million people, with plenty of its own challenges to deal with, can only go so far.”
Interestingly, the Jerusalem Post has a sub-section on its homepage, titled ‘Modi’s visit’, with all related coverage.
In this editorial by The Haaretz, the writer discusses the alleged Iranian attack against Israeli diplomats in New Delhi in 2012 which is being “covered up and made to go away” by the Indian government.
He writes: “There is terror that the Indians are not anxious to discuss… Ahead of Modi’s visit the Foreign Ministry treated questions about India’s conduct in the attack like radioactive waste. ‘The government of India is not covering up the investigation of the attack,’ Ambassador Carmon said when asked about it in a press briefing. But off the record, senior officials in the defense establishment and the Foreign Ministry concede that the issue has been covered up and made to go away by the Indians, who acted anemically toward the Iranians due to a long list of other interests that were more important. The Indians, who maintain close ties to Tehran in the areas of trade and energy, politely asked the Iranians not to commit any more attacks on Israeli targets in India, and swept the matter under the rug.”
The Times of Israel:
A blog in The Israeli Times says PM Modi’s visit to Israel may be opportune to discuss Chabahar, an Iranian city where India wants to build a port to establish its defence presence. The writer argues: “Israel seeing eye-to-eye with Iran is unlikely given their past and the recent Saudi-Qatar rift. However, Israel is actively looking to further its relations with India. In that context, whatever benefits India may, in turn, benefit Israel, even if indirectly through Iran.”
Israeli daily ‘The Marker’ in an article titled ‘Wake up: the most important PM of the world is coming’, discussing ties between India and Israel. It added that in contrast to US President Donald Trump, who “didn’t say much”, Modi, a leader of 1.25 billion people, deserves a lot of attention. Read: List of Narendra Modi’s engagements in Israel on Wednesday. Click here.